2 brothers charged in Chinatown brawl demand punishment for men they say started the fight

CeFaan Kim Image
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Dispute over public urination on home leads to brawl with sword
CeFaan Kim has more on the brawl in Chinatown.

CHINATOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Two brothers charged in a raucous brawl in Chinatown are demanding justice, and punishment for the group of men who they say started the fight and prompted the brothers to act in self-defense with a sword.

The two brothers say they were getting pummeled by five men in a relentless beatdown that happened in the fall of 2020.

Video shows one of those brothers, John Ong, eventually grab a Kitana blade and slash one of the five men in the forearm.

He was eventually charged with attempted murder.

In an Eyewitness News exclusive interview, the other brother, Max Ong, says that not only was it self defense, but that it was that group of men who instigated the brawl.

"He said, 'you dirty Asian (racial slur)," Max Ong said.

He is the superintendent of a building on Elizabeth Street. He says the dispute started because the men were urinating on his building.

"He said, '(racial slur) is calling his boys.' He says, 'we're going to have a gang fight.' I said, 'no, I'm calling the cops,'" Ong said.

That's when one of the men tried to urinate on Ong.

Max's brother John then comes out, and that same man steps in his face and shoves John.

"He says, 'get me my bag, I'm going to shank the (racial slur)," Max Ong said. "So, my first reaction was to create some distance between him and his bag, and I shoved him and I said leave."

John then got tossed into a fence, injuring his ribs. All chaos breaks out.

"I heard my skull cracking and my ears were ringing and I blacked out," Max Ong said.

Eventually, as the group of men walk away, John goes into the building to grab the sword.

At the very same moment, the men turn back around. John then takes a swing.

Max Ong took a no jail plea deal, which includes five years of probation with a criminal record.

John is considering a plea deal, and his sentencing is next Tuesday -- two and a half years in prison for second-degree assault with a deadly weapon.

It happened in fall of 2020.

"For them to be not charged at the height of the anti-Asian hate it's just to me is outrageous," said community advocate Don Lee. "Someone comes down to Chinatown, decides to piss on you, piss on the street, call you racial slurs, beat you up and still no arrest?"

Max's legs and face were battered and bruised. He's been unable to work.

"My back's on fire right now," Max Ong said.

Meanwhile, the Ong family is facing a civil lawsuit from the man John slashed.

"We've always been quiet, decent citizens in this area," said the brothers' mother Iris Ong. "Something like this it's so, you know, towards this time, it's really not right."

A spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg released this statement:

"The victim suffered significant injuries after he was assaulted with brass knuckles and a sword, including permanent damage to his nerves and tendons. Our continued investigation, which included a review of all the available video surveillance and interviews with eyewitnesses, determined there was no evidence to charge any other individual at the scene with criminal conduct."


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